■ TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
CANADIAN HR REPORTER
Gaming on the job
An interactive video game is helping one Ontario company improve sales calls
BY DANIELLE HARDER
In an era when many em- ployers are asking em- ployees to turn off fun technologies at work, Da-
vis Controls is encouraging its
sales reps to play a video game.
The game, Momentium,
allows them to play through
real-world, simulated sales call
scenarios online. The goal is to
secure a meeting with an ava-
tar who represents a virtual cli-
ent, with the scenarios becom-
ing progressively tougher and
more complex at each level.
O.C. Tanner helps
By contrast, Momentium
provides ongoing training that
consistently re-emphasizes key
sales strategies by focusing on
repetition, he says.
Davis Controls introduced
the game to sales staff nationwide with a one-day class, but
the followup training takes
place online on their own time.
Sales reps are expected to complete three missions every two
weeks. They can take time out
during their day or play online
from home after hours.
“Instead of pulling them off
the road for training, they can
do it during lunch or during
a lull in the day,” says Kalau.
“We don’t want it to impact on
the job. It’s great because it’s
flexible and interactive.”
Training can take one year
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With 120 story-based missions taking anywhere from 20
minutes to 30 minutes to play,
it could take up to one year to
finish all of the levels.
“It’s designed to be done in
bite-sized pieces,” says Mar-
guerite Zimmerman, presi-
dent and CEO of Burlington,
Ont.-based E=mz2, the com-
pany behind Momentium. “We
would rather they do one epi-
sode, then go out and practise.
The whole mindset we’re after
is ‘Every professional practises
before a game.’”
The video game works be-
cause the scenarios change
with every mission, but the
core strategies are the same,
“You really have a chance
to reinforce the strategy,” he
says. “You complete a mission
and now you do the same thing
again but maybe in a different
industry or with a different
kind of individual (as the cus-
The game is structured
around six basic principles:
business skills, influencing, ne-
gotiation, change technology,
assertiveness and presentation.
Sales reps also learn about dif-
ferent customer styles, such as
the “finisher” or “adapter.”
“You’re always growing but
you’re always repeating,” says
Unlike traditional role-playing, the video game takes the
pressure off employees who
don’t like to perform in front of
a group. That lack of pressure
also encourages employees
to take chances in the game,
chances they might not take in
“There’s time pressure, but
no group pressure,” he says,
adding there’s also followup
feedback at the end of every
round. Players record their comments after each “sales call”
and discuss their challenges in
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